Cultural Differences in Television Advertising-7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sociological research 1)

Sociological research is mainly interested in examining a certain aspect of social life, as it is portrayed in advertising in two or more countries. Often, this type of research tries to characterise a culture’s (or country’s) social attitudes towards a certain aspect of society by examining advertising content for the values that are reflected in the content. As suggested above, this type of research usually does not claim to explain the differences in advertising, but does try to explain the differences in the societies by content analysing the advertising.

Here are two examples of this type of research:

a. One focuses on the decline of work ethics in the U.K. and the US

An Advertising Test of Work Ethic in the U.K. and the U.S. (Tansey, Hyman, Zinkhan and Chowdhury, 1997) In this study, the authors examine if a perceived declining trend in work ethics can be supported by examining business journals’ advertising. According to the authors, “many social commentators in the U.K. and the U.S. claim that their respective country is in economic decline, and that a major cause of this decline is the indigenous workforce’s increased pursuit of leisure and affiliation rather than work achievement”. To test this hypothesis, the authors examined print advertisements for either liquor or cars published in The Economist and Forbes from 1971 to 1981. Using three coders (one UK male, one US male and one US female, all with a college degree (one with a Masters degree)), they analysed a total of 1757 ads for achievement, affiliation, work and leisure themes. The authors conclude that for the UK a shift from work to leisure/affiliation pursuits cannot be concluded from the themes of the advertisements studied, thus offering no support for the hypothesis that a shift from work ethics to leisure and affiliation has taken place in the UK (as claimed by some social commentators). In the U.S., where social commentators are more divided on the possible decline of work ethics, the results of the study are less conclusive. Two declining trends could be established in the US with some statistical significance: a decline in work themes in liquor ads, and a decline of achievement themes in car ads. Tansey et al. also point out, that overall the work ethic may be stronger in the UK than the US.

b. The other research examines gender roles in US, Mexican and Australian television commercials. Sex Roles in Advertising: A Comparison of Television Advertisements in Australia, Mexico and the United States (Gilly, 1988)

Gilly examined the differences of gender roles as portrayed by television commercials in Australia, Mexico and the United States of America, by studying to extent to which stereotypes were present in the commercials (i.e. to what extent the portrayed characters differed from the actual demographic variables of that country). In the study, a sample of 12 hours of programming was videotaped in Los Angeles, Monterrey and Brisbane from the major network with the highest viewer ratings at the times (8:00 AM — 4.00 PM on Tuesdays and 7.00 PM — 11 PM on Wednesdays). This yielded a total of 617 commercials: 275 US, 204 Mexican and 138 Australian commercials. One bilingual coder was used to code all the commercials for product type, product user, voice over and setting. Equally, each character was analysed for gender, age, marital status, employment (work situation, non-work situation, no indication), occupation (or work position), spokes person role, credibility (product user/authority), help (receiving or giving help), advice (receiving or giving), role ( partner, parent, homemaker, worker, celebrity, interviewer, other), physical activity and frustration. Gilly found some significant differences in the settings in which male and female characters were portrayed in the US commercials: “Women were more likely portrayed in the home, a store, or outdoors whereas men were more likely to appear in work settings.” No differences were found between Mexican and Australian commercials. Female voiceovers were used in 12% of the commercials in all countries. In all three countries, females portrayed in the commercial were generally younger than the demographic of that country. Gilly concludes, that overall the Australian commercials exhibit the least differences between men and women (” though still exhibit some sex role difference, [the commercials] are superior to the US ads in terms of overall equality of the sexes”). The US commercials varied to a greater extent, where females were more often portrayed as receivers of help, males more often portrayed as authority figures etc. Mexican commercials tended to have even more gender role differences, though Gilly comments: ” from a country perceived so much more traditional than our own [the US], sex role stereotyping is not much greater than that in the US ads.”

As can be seen from the above examples sociological research focuses exclusively on one defined societal phenomenon and tries to review this with the help of advertising images/messages. This type of research is also often used to illustrate the relationship between culture and advertising/media messages, given the often a priori assumption that advertising content is itself reflective of culture (Samiee and Jeong, 1994). As this type of research mainly examines one isolated area of interest, it can not and usually does not claim to illustrate a certain leaning towards themes and advertising appeals dominant in any one country overall.

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtmlProf. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

01-02-2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers
Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-6

January 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Communication, Marketing, Psychology 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Communication and Culture 1)

“Culture is a fuzzy set of attitudes, beliefs, behavioural norms and basic assumptions and values that are shared by a group of people, and that influence each member’s behaviour and his/her interpretations of the meaning of other people’s behaviour” (Spencer-Oatey, 2000). The concept of “culture” and business has been extensively researched (Hall, 1983; Hofstede, 1980; 1983; 1991; 1998), both how it affects interpersonal communication, as well as in more general terms: such as culture influences business practices, consumer choice and behaviour ( Hofstede, 1991; 1998; Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 1993, 1997 ).

Two models have been extensively used in the business world: Hofstede’s 5 Dimensions (1980; 1983, 1991) and Hall’s perception of time and high-context/low-context models (1983; 1989).

A number of other, sometimes more detailed, models are available (Chinese Culture Connection, 1987; Fiske, 1991; Schwarz, 1994). These models clarify and support Hall’s and Hofstede’s dimensions, and can mostly be related back to the Hofstede dimensions (Smith and Bond, 1998).

Hofstede (1991), differentiates between five cultural dimensions:

· Individualism/Collectivism

Individualist cultures typically emphasise the goals of the individual, individual initiative and achievement, more dominantly than collectivist societies, which are more concerned with collective goals and the group as a whole. In business, individualist societies rely more heavily on facts and figures to determine the optimum outcome, whereas collectivist societies put a greater emphasis on personal relationships and group harmony. This Hofstede dimensions is largely seen as connected with Hall’s High-context/Low-context dimension.

· Femininity/Masculinity

Masculine cultures typically favour assertive, competitive and tough attitudes, whereas feminine cultures are expected to emphasise caring and tender attitudes. Typically, masculine societies offer higher rewards and favour a challenging and competitive environment, whereas in feminine societies the emphasis is more on good relationships and co-operation.

· Uncertainty Avoidance

The degree of risk aversion in a society is central to this dimension. Countries that score low in uncertainty avoidance typically favour taking risks, trying new ways and using novel approaches. Societies that score high however tend to put greater emphasis on the “tried and tested” methods, are unlikely to take on high risks and are generally considered to be averse to ambiguity.

· Power Distance

This dimension is concerned with the respect for authority, hierarchy and status. The respect for authority and status are typically more dominant in high power distance countries than low power distance countries, where decisions from the top can (and should) usually be questioned and are typically based on reasoning and factual information. In extremely high power distance countries, the respect for authority figures, such as teachers, superior managers and parents, is generally so high, that their decisions are not questionable and have to be obeyed, regardless of whether or not these decisions make any sense to the recipient.

· Long Term Orientation

This dimension is typically concerned with the time frame in which the individual operates. Short-term-orientation is primarily concerned with the present and immediate future, such as favouring immediate benefits over long term gain. The emphasis in long-term-oriented cultures is more clearly on the continuity of the past to the future, such as the adaptation of traditions to modern life, and the perseverance towards slow gains.

· Polychronic / Monochronic

This dimension described by Hall and Hall (1989) is mainly concerned with the perception of time: Time is either perceived as linear and a hard guideline (monochronic), and it is only possible to handle one thing at a time, which requires full attention. In polychronic cultures time is seen as soft guideline, allowing for great flexibility and tasks are handled as they occur, often resulting in several tasks being handled at the same time.

2. Advertising and Culture

With the increase in international marketing research in recent years, an increasing number of scholars have shown interest in cross-cultural advertising research. In survey, Saminee and Jeong (1994), reported on a total of 24 cross-cultural studies in advertising for the period of 1980 to 1992. In their survey, the overwhelming majority of studies (21 out of 24) studied advertising in the US compared to at least another nation, whereas the second most studied country was Japan, with only 7 studies. The UK was included in 4 studies, Germany in 2 and the Netherlands in no study.

This section focuses on the most cited studies, and reviews them in some detail. However, there are a large number of other studies in existence that study certain aspects of advertising, or repeat other studies in different settings. For obvious reasons, those studies have not been discussed in this part. The main studies included here have been selected to represent and visualise the variety of studies that are available, but certainly, the list is not exhaustive.

Few studies examined countries because they were perceived as culturally similar (e.g. Mueller and Caillat, 1996). The majority selected the countries because they were culturally dissimilar (e.g. Katz and Lee, 1992; Culter and Javalgi, 1992; Cheng and Schweitzer, 1996).

Most of the studies published have paired two or more countries and examined the differences. The majority of the studies used either two or three countries, and only a few have extended their studies beyond this number (e.g. Zandpour, Campos and Catalano, 1994; Albers-Miller, 1996; Albers-Miller and Gelb, 1996). Some of these studies used research questions and resulting hypothesis loosely based cross-cultural theories, such as Hall (e.g. Biswass, Olsen and Carlet, 1992; Cheng and Schweitzer, 1996) in combination with economic and other data, or strictly based on cross-cultural theories, such as Hofstede (Albers-Miller and Gelb, 1996). Other studies have used country specific information, such as predominantly economic information (e.g. Tansey, Hyman and Zinkhan, 1990; Culter and Javalgi, 1992; Mueller and Caillat, 1996; Tse, Belk and Zhou, 1989; Wiles, Wiles and Tjernlund, 1996). A large number of the studies looked at advertising in general, without a directed research question, however, some studies were particularly interested in a limited number of societal phenomena, such as gender roles and work ethics (e.g. Gilly, 1988; Tansey, Hyman, Zinkhan and Chowdhury, 1997).

Resulting from this, current research can be broadly classified in three categories:

· Sociological research

Research of this type usually focuses on a certain aspect of society as portrayed in advertising. Research in this category typically tries to contrast culturally inspired norms such as gender roles between different countries. (e.g. Gilly, 1988; Tansey, Hyman, Zinkhan and Chowdhury, 1997).

· Ethnology inspired research

Studies in this category rely on a set of historic and general society values to explain perceived differences in advertising in two or more countries (e.g. Mueller and Caillat, 1996; Wiles, Wiles and Tjernlund, 1996).

· Cross-cultural psychology inspired research

This type of research aims to provide a somewhat deeper explanation of observed differences in advertising by linking appeals and observations to cultural dimensions, and hence trying to be able to forecast value and appeal differences in various countries (e.g. Albers-Miller and Gelb, 1996).

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

23-01-2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2

2713 BJ Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81

Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

Cultural Differences in Television Advertising-5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CREATIVE STRATEGY 1)

Another aspect that has frequently been looked at is the overall communication or creative strategy that is used in advertising. One frequently used measurement system analyses

· if the advert presented in the form of a lecture, with a narrator speaking about the product (typical of direct sales commercials),

· or if a “story” or drama is created in the commercial. This distinction was originally developed by Wells (1988) and later adopted and expanded by Deighton, Romer and McQueen (1989).

 

Message elements
Wells Deighton Narration Character Plot
Lecture Yes No No
Drama and Lecture Demonstration Yes No Yes
Story Yes Yes Yes
Drama Drama Yes Yes Yes

· Typically, a lecture-type commercial will use hard sales strategy to convince the consumer,

· whereas a drama will be more soft sell approach. Equally, a lecture-type commercial will usually contain more information cues than a drama-type commercial, due to the nature of the presentation.

Looking at the communication style used,

· direct speech can be expected to be predominant in lecture type commercials, as the narrator usually addresses the audience directly (”Call now”).

· Indirect speech is logically more dominant in drama-type commercials, where the characters can be expected to speak to each other as the plot develops.

A slightly different flavour of creative strategy research, and more differentiated than the above, focuses on a variety of possible creative strategies that are frequently used in commercials. Most dominantly used are Simon’s Creative Strategies (1971). Martenson (1987), researching advertising in the US and Sweden, defined the strategies as follows:

Strategy Description
Information Presentation of unadorned facts, without explanation or argument, merely “news about” the product concerned
Argument Relating of facts (reasons why) in some detail to the desired purchase; logical “playing on established desires” in presenting “excuses” to buy
Motivation with psychological appeals Explicit statement of how the product will benefit the consumer; use of emotions and appeals to self-interest in creating desires not previously readily apparent; interpretation of facts in an “especially for you” framework
Repeated assertion Hard-selling repetition of one basic piece of information, often a generality, unsupported by factual proof.
Command A “non-logical” reminder (either hard-sell or soft-sell) to predispose audience favourably; maybe reinforced by an authoritative figure
Brand familiarisation Friendly, conversational feel, few or no “selling facts”, but suggestion of loyalty to and “trustworthiness” of the advertiser, keeps brand name before the public.
Symbolic assertion Subtle presentation of a single piece of information, links the product to a place, event, person or symbol (any positive connotation); sales pitch usually not explicit, copy [print ed.] usually minimal, and product, in general, not “featured”.
Imitation Testimonial, by a celebrity, by a “hidden camera” participant or by individual(s) unknown but with whom readers can readily identify (or whom they respect because of specified characteristics).
Obligation Free offer of a gift or information or a touching sentiment, some attempt to make the reader feel grateful.
Habit sharing Offer of a sample or reduced price to initiate a “regular practice or routine”; product usually featured.

This method again is clearly more differentiated, and allows for a greater variety of creative styles to be analysed than the lecture/drama method. It is however quite limited in its approach and usability to analyse the interaction between values and advertising, as it focuses more on an additional preference for a certain creative style or styles in a country. It is however well suited for that, and possibly a good tool for a more descriptive research than pure value centred research.

Again, this method makes use of communication style and the use of linguistic styles, such as a preference for indirect and direct speech, however the link is less clearly visible than with the lecture/drama method.

Another stylistic or creative method that is frequently referred to and researched is the use of humour in advertising. This stands out somewhat, as it doesn’t represent a full creative style, and is not linked directly within the area of information cue or appeals research.

As can be seen from the above examples of research instruments used, the focus of research into (cross-cultural) advertising can be radically different, though related. Research into appeals is evidently the most broadly focused research, whereas information cues and strategy research takes a far narrower, however more explicit, focus. All of theses research foci make a useful contribution to identify more clearly how advertising is influenced by culture, and if used in combination, have the potential to provide an extremely powerful analysis of advertising practice.

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

15-01-2013

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers


Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2

2713 BJ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81
Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

INFORMATION CUES 1)

Other researchers focused more narrowly on the information content, rather than the appeals as a whole, in advertising. Information cues in advertising are generally understood to relate to pieces of information relating to the product or service that is being offered, the content in which the product is used or consumed is generally disregarded. A major tool for research focusing on information content is the Resnick-Stern Content Classification System (Stern, Dean & Resnick, 1981).

Information cue Descriptions
Price Value What does a product cost? What is the value-retention capability? What is the need/satisfaction capability?
Quality What are the product’s characteristics that distinguish it from competing products based on an objective evaluation of workmanship, engineering, durability, excellence of materials, structural superiority, superiority of personnel, attention to detail, or special services
Performance What does the product do, and how well does it do what it is designed to do in comparison to alternative products?
Components or contents What is the product composed of? What ingredients does it contain? What ancillary items are included with the product?
Availability Where can the product be purchased? When will the product be available for purchase?
Special offers What limited-time non-price deals are available with a particular purchase?
Taste Is evidence presented that the taste of a particular product is perceived as superior in taste by a sample of customers
Nutrition Are specific data given concerning the nutritional content of a particular product, or is a direct specific comparison made with other products?
Package or Shape What package is the product available in which makes it more desirable than alternatives? What special shapes is the product available in?
Guarantees and warranties What post-purchase assurances accompany the product?
Safety What safety features are available on a particular product compared to alternative choices?
Independent research Are results of research gathered by an “independent” research firm presented?
Company research Are data gathered by a company to compare its product with a competitor’s presented?
New ideas Is a totally new concept introduced during the commercial? Are its advantages presented?

Information cue research, such as Weinberger and Spotts (1989) or Maenaka, Miracle and Chang (1991), count either the total or the unique number of information cues presented in commercials.

Clearly, this type of research is far more limited in its approach, as it is more concerned with the product attributes that are displayed, rather than the entire message. It is however quite useful in order to evaluate the “directness” of advertising, and as such can be related more evidently to Hall’s high context/low context concepts, rather than to broader based cultural dimension concepts, such as Hofstede’s dimensions as a whole.

If counting the information cues present in advertising, a large number may suggest a low context society, whereas a low number would possibly suggest a high context culture. However, the number of information cues may equally be related to uncertainty avoidance, as it seems plausible, that in a largely risk averse culture the consumer may want to have more information about a product than in a less risk averse culture, as suggested by Usunier, 1999.

In comparison with Pollay based research, this type of research is not suitable for research into values, however it is far more differentiated in respect to the information content that is provided, and what product attributes are explained explicitly in the commercial message. As such, it provides a more detailed picture of target market consumer expectation than the more general values research, however it provides less opportunity for descriptive advertising context analysis. This is particularly evident, as certain appeals as classified by Pollay are considerably expanded. For example the “effective” appeal is split up in to three Resnick-Stern cues: Quality, performance and taste. The “safety” appeal is repeated in two cues: Guarantees and warranties and safety.

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

 Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

11-12-2012

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ

Zoetermeer

The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81
Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VALUES AND APPEALS 1)

a. Kotler (1997)

He differentiates three different types of appeals:

1. rational appeals,

He classifies rational appeals as “appealing to the audience’s self interest”. Typically they refer to the quality, value or performance of the product.

2. emotional appeals

Emotional appeals “attempt to stir up negative or positive emotions” (ibid.), and include fear, guilt, joy. Although Kotler makes a reference to negative emotions, I would argue, that these are turned into positive appeals in commercials. For example the negative “fear” appeal is used only when the product can actually provide safety.

3. moral appeals.

Finally moral appeals “are directed to the audience’s sense of what is right and proper.”(ibid.) These may include such appeals as ecological appeals and nationalism.

The often interchanging use of appeals and values by some researchers can be explained when looking at the interaction that is necessary between the two:

· Appeals are used to appeal to the values a consumer holds;

· Values are the underlying source of appeals.

b. Wells, Burnett and Moriarty (1995)

They define values and tentatively describe the interaction as: The source for norms [defined as simple rules for behaviour] is our values.

An example of a value is personal security. Possible norms expressing this value range from the bars on the window and double-locked doors in Brooklyn, New York, to unlocked cars and homes in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Values are few in number and are not tied to specific objects or situations. (…) Advertisers often refer to core values when selecting their primary appeals. Burnett and Moriarty (1995): 167.

This extract clarifies this interaction to some extent: Knowing that people value personal safety, and that a product X can enhance the personal safety, advertising for product X may use a safety appeal. So strictly argued, the safety value (or the desire to be safe) is held by the consumer – and the appeal is what is expressed in the advertisement in order to suggest to the consumer that their desired state of personal safety can be enhanced.

The appeal hence represents the underlying value.

c. Hofstede (1994):

This definition of values comes relatively close to the definition of values given by Hofstede (1994): Values are broad tendencies to prefer certain states of affairs over others.

To continue the above example: The advertising for product X, appealing for enhanced personal safety, displays a preference for a state of safety. And as such can be interpreted as displaying the preference for the state of enhanced personal safety (or in other words: the value of personal safety). Hence, if an advertisement displays a happy family, it can be understood to use the family appeal to represent family values.

In order to avoid any further confusion of the situation, for the remainder of this document:

We will refer to “appeals” as the values that are expressed in advertising, by using appeals, or the appeals that are displayed in advertising representing certain values. We will use values strictly when this represents a tendency to prefer certain states of affairs over others by human beings in the real world.

d. Pollay (1986)

The use of appeals, and with them the possibility of a distorted representation of reality, has been a topic of discussion for a considerable time. In 1983 Pollay published a coding framework for the identification of cultural appeals (actually, he called them values) in advertising, primarily as a response to the discussion over the cultural consequences of advertising appeals and what values of society these reflect.

By reviewing a variety of advertising related literature, as well as literature and values research in other disciplines, such as psychology, sociology and the humanities, Pollay created a list of 42 appeals most commonly found in advertising. He notes, that advertising does reflect a somewhat different set of values as can be found in a society in general (Pollay, 1986), a notion which he termed the “distorted mirror”, and which has lead to a significant debate over the subject matter. Clearly, advertising will attempt to have positive appeals associated with the product, and hence lead to a distorted reflection of reality. Although Kotler (1997) includes negative appeals, such as fear or guilt, in his examples, these will normally be turned “positive” in advertising, and are included as such in the Pollay list: For example the fear of an accident is resolved by demonstrating the safety features of a car (safety appeal).

Other researchers who carried out research into advertising appeals have developed different lists of possible values, often because they only tested for certain appeals rather than a complete set of appeals. For example Mueller (1996) and Cheng & Schweitzer (1996) used limited lists developed by them to reflect their line of enquiry. However, both take their definitions from Pollay’s original work.

As such, Pollay’s framework is the most complete set of possible appeals with definitions. It is also “pre-tested” as it is derived from previously published material, and is generally considered to be complete. As such may be the most suitable instrument both for probing a complete set of appeals, if used as a whole, or a limited set of appeals, if used in parts.

Clearly, in order to be effective, advertising has to appeal to the positive values that are held in the target group, or taken at large, the target society. If advertising is “out of touch” with the target group, it may alienate the target group, as the consumer can no longer identify with the product.

It is hence essential for the advertising to reflect at least a proportion of the values held by the target group, or society at large.

As Hofstede and others have demonstrated, values can vary considerably between cultures.

Some cultures may be comfortable with a relatively high level of uncertainty – if expressed in appeals, then it can be expected that advertising in these cultures will make less use of safety appeals than advertising from a culture where the culture is less comfortable with uncertainty.

Equally, in a society that holds highly individualistic values, it can be expected that advertising in general will use more appeals to individual achievement than in a society that holds dominantly collectivist values.

As such, advertising appeals are not a mere representation of a culture’s values at large, but they represent a selective sample of positive and desired values of that culture. They are in fact a “distorted mirror”, a mirror that represents idealistic, rather than realistic, values.

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

22-11-2011

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

Contact:

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers
Amaliaplaats 2
2713 BJ Zoetermeer
The Netherlands

Telefone: +31 (0) 79 – 3 19  03 81
Mobile:  +31 (0) 6 2 061 8494

Email: info@beniers-consultancy.com

Website: www.beniers-consultancy.com

 

 

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Cultural Differences In Television Advertising-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cultural differences in television advertising (1)

1. Introduction

Is it possible to persuade consumers in different markets with the same advertising message? Will they respond favourably? Or should the advertising message be customised to reflect local culture? This question is one of the most fundamental decisions when planning an advertising campaign in different cultural areas, and, not surprisingly, one of the most frequently discussed issues in advertising today. Whereas many anecdotes tell the story of failed, or misunderstood, advertising, little clarity exists what exactly makes advertising different from country to country, and what types of appeals are used to promote different products in different markets – if there should be any difference whatsoever.

One side in this debate emphasises that the world is growing ever closer, and that the world can be treated as one large market, with only superficial differences in values (Levitt, 1983). In their view, advertising and marketing can be standardised across cultures, and the same values can be used to persuade customers to buy or consume the product. The opposing side is content with the fact that the basic needs may well be the same around the world, however they argue that the way in which these needs are met and satisfied differs from culture to culture. Any marketing (and advertising) campaign should, in their view, reflect the local habits, lifestyles and economical conditions in order to be effective. In 1985, Woods et al. concluded in a study of consumer purpose in purchase in the US, Quebec and Korea, that “important differences are found in the reasons why they [the consumers] purchase products familiar to all three countries”.

Many researchers have contributed to the debate, examining a sample of advertising for particular ways of portraying lifestyle and themes used (Gilly, 1990; Tansey, Hyman & Zinkhan, 1990); advertising strategies and information content (Lin, 1993; Zandpour, Chang & Catalano 1992; Ramaprasad & Hasegawa, 1992), the use of humour (Weinberger & Spotts, 1989; Alden, Hower & Lee, 1992), Americanisation of appeals used (Wiles, Wiles & Tjernlund, 1996; Mueller 1992) or they tested for a mix of different themes, styles, appeals or advertising content. These studies, among others, and the magnitude of their findings have put significant doubt over the theories and applicability of standardised, global advertising. They clearly suggest to localise advertising messages to suit consumer expectation in each market (Albers-Miller, 1996b).

However, the degree of difference in advertising strategies and appeals used may well be very different not only from country to country, but also from product category to product category. As Zandpour, Chang and Catalano (1992) and Katz and Lee (1992) have pointed out, information content, creative strategy, format and content style differ with each product category.

2. Conceptual Background & Definitions

Ad creation, pre market testing and localisation

Advertising creation can vary enormously from one company promoting their products or services across borders to another company. Whereas real economic benefits, dominantly economies of scale, can be obtained by standardising advertising across borders, many companies choose not to do so, but rather to rely on local knowledge.

In order to create a commercial, an advertising agency is usually instructed to create the overall concept in line with the marketing objectives, create a set of different test commercials and pre-test the commercials for effectiveness. This is a crucial step for advertising creation, and often takes a relatively long time, in which the test commercials are tested qualitatively and quantitatively in focus groups, through questionnaires, in test markets, sample areas and so on. After successful testing, the real commercial is created, and finally airtime for the commercial is booked or auctioned (either directly or through a media agency). During and after the commercial is running, further tests are usually carried out in order to optimise advertising targets with real out comes, and commercials may be adjusted depending on the outcome.

In a survey of the Fortune 500 US-based multinational companies, Hite and Fraser (1988) reported, that – - 50% of these companies used a foreign (i.e. local to the market) agency for their advertising; – 21% used an international agency or network (i.e. an angency that maintained local offices in the target market); – 18% used a foreign affiliates of an in-house-agency.

In the same report, Hite and Fraser also observe a steep decline in the trend to use the same advertising (standardised advertising) in different markets. Earlier reports (Sorenson and Wiechmann, 1975; Boddewya, Soehl and Picard, 1986) reported that in 1975 only 20% of multinational companies utilised localised versions of their advertising, in 1986 the figure reported had grown to 39%. In their own survey, Hite and Fraser (1988) reported, that

- 36% of companies that advertise across borders use localised advertising, and that

- a further 56% use a combination strategy (such as the same images, different text).

- Only 8% used standardised advertising across borders.

They also reported, that

- 95% of the respondents agreed or strongly agreed to change the language of their advertising depending on the target market,

- 59% the product attributes, 69% the models, 58% the scenic background and

- 31% the colours used. When carefully observed, this trend holds true for a large amount of European advertising.

- A number of companies use completely different commercials in the UK, the Netherlands and/or Germany, such as the German brands Müller and Holsten Pils.

- In Germany Müller’s commercials focus on the health benefits, whereas in the UK the commercials emphasise the taste of the yoghurt. Holsten’s German advertising features friendship and achievement set on a sailing boat at sea,

- whereas the UK advertising is a Monty Python style sketch set in a bar.

- Other commercials use the same images, but change the text completely: such as Max factor’s commercials featuring Madonna.

- In the UK, Madonna talks about how superficial life as a superstar is, and the lipstick is a mean used to seduce an attractive co-actor.

- In Germany, Madonna talks about how important it is to look good even in a kissing scene, and there is little evidence of intended seduction of the co-actor at all.

1) http://www.stephweb.com/capstone/t8.shtml

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers

NL Zoetermeer

08-10-2012

About Professor C.J.M. Beniers

Prof. C.J.M. Beniers is a well known authority in the field of modern and international communication techniques. He developed the Six-Component-Model. This model enables companies, institutions and politicians to communicate and negotiate with counterparts from all over the world successfully. His career began as international manager at Philips and later he earned his doctorate as professor in communication. He has more than 35 years experience as manager and management trainer. Thus he knows both sides – theory and praxis – very well. As scientist, Prof. Beniers conducts frequently research in the field of intercultural communication. The results of his interesting research can be found in news articles, free pod casts, audio books and his E-books such as “Bridging The Cultural Gap.” Here, modern managers learn how to prepare for business meetings with people from different cultures; they acquire the techniques and tools to handle situations in times of crises successfully, master intercultural barriers, country-specific communication patterns, looking into personal cultural values & systems. Knowing all this, men can prevent cultural misunderstandings and misinterpretations – not only in business but also in private life.

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